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21 Years Ago Today, Bill Clinton Denied Having an Affair with Monica Lewinsky

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Former U.S. President Bill Clinton denied having an affair with ex-White House intern Monica Lewinsky, on national TV Jan. 26, 1998 — 21 years ago.

Clinton’s response came days after Drudge Report reported on Jan. 17, 1998 that Newsweek allegedly had a story that revealed the affair between Clinton and Lewinsky. Drudge also published an allegation that said Lewinsky kept a garment that was stained with Clinton’s semen, according to Time.

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky,” Clinton said to reporters in a press conference. “I never told anybody to lie, not a single time, never. These allegations are false.”

But that was far from the truth.

The affair started in 1995, the year Lewinsky moved to Washington, D.C., to start her unpaid internship with the White House. It went on for two years before the scandal came to light, Time reported.

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Lewinsky turned the blue dress over to investigators in July 1998 and Clinton’s blood sample was taken in early August that year, according to Famous Trials. The FBI said on Aug. 17, 1988, the semen on the dress could be traced to Clinton.

“Indeed, I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate,” Clinton admitted on Aug. 17, 1998. “In fact, it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible.”

The House of Representatives voted to impeach Clinton on Dec. 19, 1998. Clinton was the second president to ever be impeached by the House.

Clinton did not face impeachment, however, after the Senate acquitted him on perjury and obstruction of justice charges, according to Time.

The 42nd president claimed he was $16 million in debt once out of office, according to CNBC.

The debt was due to fees related to the scandal, according to NPR. The Clinton family was able to get out of the debt due to book deals and speeches.

Lewinsky attended a London graduate school following the scandal and remained out of the public spotlight for years, according to History.

She gave her first public speech where she touched on the scandal at the 2014 Forbes Under 30 Summit.

“Not a day goes by that I’m not reminded of my mistake, and I regret that mistake deeply,” Lewinsky said in a March 2015 Ted Talk.

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Lewinsky’s name is referenced in 41 rap songs, according to Pop Sugar.

Lewinsky also offered a correction to one of the lyrics in Beyonce’s song “Partition.”

“Thanks, Beyonce, but if we’re verbing, I think you meant ‘Bill Clinton’d all on my gown,’ not ‘Monica Lewinsky’d,’” according to Vanity Fair.

The scandal followed former first lady Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential elections, where she said the relationship between Bill Clinton and Lewinsky was “not an abuse of power,” according to CBS.

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